Letters: 08/01

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Jumps And Oats
I simply had to write after reading a couple of commentaries sent in by other readers in your June 2001 issue.

Regarding the Jumps USA safety vs. homemade jumps issue, I think there are plenty of reasonably priced safe jumps to be either purchased or handmade for pennies on the Jumps USA dollar. Yes, manufactured jumps look nice, but I constructed 20 jumps using railroad ties, telephone poles, barrels and tires. My costs were negligible, though we did use a full weekend to construct. I then purchased standards at Home Depot. They had 4 x 4 fencing posts with cute finial tops. I found 3” and 4” diameter poles in 8’ lengths at a feed store for $5 each. With jump cups and paint, we have a lovely assortment of stadium jumps. We spent about $300.

I agree with the idea of saddle pads, towels, blankets draped over jumps for interest as a safe soft jump. I’ve used old milk crates weighted down with fake flowers in them for more interest. Again, cast-off old materials have made our horses compete with the show-decorated jumps beautifully.

My second comment is about the reader who felt oats were causing her three-year-old horse to act like a maniac when he was brought in from pasture for the winter. I’ve cared for over 25 horses of all ages and sexes in the past six years, including newborn Swedish Warmblood foals to Thoroughbreds of all ages, as well as Arabians, Quarter Horses and a mustang. I’ve used everything from sweet feeds to rolled and crimped oats, bran, beet pulps and soy products. Never have I seen pure oats create any organic or performance problems in any of the horses I cared for. I’ve had some difficulties regulating sweet mixes and high-performance feeds, however, and when I have a concern, I put the horse on rolled oats. The horses have a choice of grass hay and a grass/alfalfa mix, and a few get supplements. I feel oats are a safe feed, a non-OCD creating grain (as many studies attest) and simple. It seems that simple is the way to go when you’re in doubt.

-B. Fluken
Arvada, CO

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Snack-Size Containers
I just received the July issue and read Taste Tempters. You mentioned that the downside to applesauce is that it needs to be refrigerated. I buy snack-size applesauce containers, which are more expensive per ounce, but I don’t have to waste part of a jar of applesauce. The small containers can stay in the barn without refrigeration, and I use up one with each feeding.

-Kathy Hoppe
Portage Lake, ME

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Beet Pulp
Your June article on beet pulp didn’t include why I use beet pulp. It was recommended to me to put help fill out a skinny horse. At a rate of one cup a day, after two weeks she started to fill out. Not only that, she began to glow. I am now using it on another of my horses. Your article gave insight as to why this might be so, but perhaps readers would benefit from my experience as well.

-Candace A. Costis
Canyonview Arabians and Morgans
Dropping Springs, TX